Entrepreneurs fall in love with their businesses, but this can make breaking up as much of a wrench as the end of a relationship.
An entrepreneur should keep in mind that the day will come when they need to detach and exit the business, preferably with maximized returns.
For this to happen, entrepreneurs should learn to plan from the start how they can exit the business or at least become less involved in the day to day of running it.
By recognizing that they cannot be the only one performing every role needed to achieve sustainable growth and success, they create a structure for a future successful exit without risking the collapse of the business.
I am similar to many other entrepreneurs who are in love with the business they created: I thought I could play all the roles that would make my business grow and succeed, but I couldn’t.
The ups and downs of running a business taught me that there are three roles that should be taken over by different team members. Those are the visionary, the executer and the optimizer. The founder cannot, and should not, do them all.
An entrepreneur should decide on which of the three key roles he or she should assume: the visionary who will grow the business, the executer who will ensure successful delivery of products and services, or the controller who will optimize operations.
The three roles are fully integrated and interrelated and must be performed in a cohesive and coordinated matter. Yet taking on more than one role will put the business at risk.
Being a visionary, I have the habit of being less strict on employees’ requests for pay rises, additional perks, or taking time off. An optimizer will be less tolerant, as this will cause the business to be less efficient as well as cause problems with other resources.
Similarly, being a visionary, I want my customers to be always happy and pleased with what we are offering. This could result in gold plating the product or service or committing to results that the delivery team cannot achieve.
If the entrepreneur wants to be the visionary, which from my experience is optimal since it’s the founder’s dream that has created the business, then he or she should master the generation of new ideas and concepts that will keep the business always alive and ahead of the competition.
The visionary must also set the growth strategy as well as build the team that will be needed to achieve it and market leadership, as well as securing partnerships to accelerate growth. In other words, the visionary should be the one who has the ultimate responsibility to lead the business forward.
The second role needed to run a healthy and successful business is the executer. This is the role that ensures delivery is on time, within budget and meets quality standards. The executer’s ultimate responsibility is to achieve customer satisfaction but without ‘gold-plating’ the services and products deliverables.
The optimizer is the third important role needed to run a business. This is the role that will ensure business operations are run efficiently and achieve the targeted return on investment and profitability.The optimizer’s responsibility is to run the business in the a manner that will ensure the business continues to operate profitably.
Having those three roles run by the right, and competent, team members will not only increase the likelihood of having a successful business but will also ensure it continues to be sustainable if the people performing those roles get replaced.
In a way, it will help the entrepreneur not to blindly fall in love with the idea and the passion associated with it, but be comfortable to let go when the right time comes.
Feature image via Dulcet Collective